Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Politics of Food

Writer and Masterchef judge Matt Preston made a particularly insightful comment about the politics of food the other day. His focus was on how Australia still upholds European ingredients (truffles, foie gras etc) as the peak of food perfection when we have a number ourselves.

I have extended that thought and now consider the political nature of all food. Whether it be those who have much, and those who don't have enough; to eat meat or not; food miles; ethical growing methods; price; water usage, fair trade ... the list goes on. However you look at it, food is a political issue.

And even for the consumer that ignores all else and just wants to pay the least amount possible for their food, it is political.The politicians know it and the supermarkets know it. An example I saw in the catalog of one of our big supermarkets (the one with a W) was extolling the benefits (cost and taste) of their beef as the cows had spent 100 days being fed quality grain. Sounds much better than admitting they were feedlot animals lol. And then there is the fast food company that quickly mentions in their jingle that their chickens live in fields .... when the company that supplies them doesn't sell free range products. Don't tell me they weren't buying into the politics of food.

And then there is the politics of health claims of food products which i haven't even begun to discuss here.

I look at the marketing of food differently when I have my "politics" glasses, as well as the "sell sell sell" glasses on.

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